Gladys (“Gay”) Evelyn Poynter received her wings on October 29, 2020. She leaves her twins, daughter Debby St. Clair (Ed St. Clair) and her son Scott Poynter (Elizabeth Poynter), and her seven grandchildren Dustin and Emory Poynter, Zach and Nate Villemez, and Brandon, Garett, and Ryan St. Clair. She was preceded in death by her husband of sixty years Terry, and her son Lee.
Our Mom was born in Fort Smith, on March 4th, 1939, she had a brother Eugene and a sister named Virgina. Her dad Debs (Debby’s namesake) was an engineer that could build or fix anything. Her mom Virchie (we called her “MaMa”) was, like Mom, very loving and kind.
After high school in Fort Smith, Mom and her family moved to Fayetteville. While there, MaMa’s joy was cooking for the college “boys” that she provided room & board to while they attended the University of Arkansas. Mom told us stories about the “boys” downstairs, and the budding relationship between her sister Virginia and one special boy named Owen Clark, which everyone just called “Clark.” Her sister loved and eventually married Clark, and after college they made their home near Dallas. Mom loved her niece Sharon, and her nephews Richard, David and Nathan too, and they all held a special place in her heart.
Mom’s brother Eugene married Marianne, and they lived in Little Rock for a time before moving to Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Mom loved her brother and Marianne a lot, and we have fond memories of our trips to their home in Little Rock (which Scotty lives very close to now) and having fun with their kids Lisa, Eddie, and Michael. Mom loved telling stories about our trips to see Eugene’s family in Little Rock, and we can’t count the times Mom would tell us about Eddie’s newspaper route to the apartment buildings nearby.
Mom attended the U of A and received a journalism degree from “The University” in 1961. While in the journalism school, she met Dad who was also a journalism major. Mom told us that she thought Terry was very funny and that they always had lots of fun together. They met in a sophomore journalism class, and their first date was on Mom’s birthday in 1959. They were married by May 31, 1961, and had Lee by July 14, 1962. While Terry attended law school, Gay worked in the University library to help support their family, which grew quickly with the births of Debby and Scotty on September 20, 1964. Terry graduated that fall, and the family of five moved to Mountain Home thereafter.
Terry’s mother Delores and our Mom developed a special bond. DeeDee, as the grandkids called her, really loved Mom and thought of her as her own daughter. DeeDee also loved, like our Mom, to look nice and to go shopping. Together, they shopped for clothes, furniture and other things, and most often DeeDee would buy things for Mom as special gifts to her. DeeDee’s sister Aunt Alice would pal around with DeeDee almost every day, and Mom grew close to Alice too. Dad looked to Aunt Alice’s daughter, Linda Freeman, as his sister. Linda and Mom loved one another, and Mom loved Linda’s husband Art, and their children “Little Art” (Mom’s nickname for him), Katie and Ned.
Growing up, Mom took great care of us kids. She loved carting us around from school, to piano, and to our sports or other activities. She also loved our friends, and she considered the Huckaba’s and the Nosari’s as extensions to our family. Sandy, Missy (in the photo), Melanie, Robyn, Stacey, Robert and Chris (her godson) were all her children too. She often packed us up in one of the various station wagons she owned to take us wherever we wanted to go.
She was a sports mom. Mom was there for every tennis match and baseball game. She was ever present at each game Debby cheered, home or away. Mom even rode on the bus to our high school tennis matches sometimes, which probably was because she played tennis and loved the game so much.
Mom also served as a substitute teacher and a boy’s scout leader. But her biggest joy was serving as the youth leader for our church. For probably a decade she organized and led our First Christian Church’s youth group in our home’s basement. Because of her love, kindness, ability to teach and lead, and love of Christ, youth we didn’t even know would just show up at our home for Christian fellowship. We also played many games of pool and basketball, had lake days and canoe trips, and Youth Christian Weekends all organized by our Mom. She led many of our youth to Christ, and furthered all of our friends’ Christian beliefs and spirit for many years.
Mom, and also Dad, were active in Lay Witness Missions (affiliated then with the First Methodist Church) having met Erma and Harold Davidson (“Mr. and Mrs. D”) of Little Rock during one of the missions at our church in about 1973. Together with “the D’s” and their sons Lee and Rick, Mom and Dad travelled across Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas, and Louisiana sharing God’s Word with many good people who have remained friends with our family for many years.
Once we all got into high school, Mom had some free time and so she began working outside the church and home. Mom and Dad bought the ladies clothing store Fashion Lane in Mountain Home. She loved it, and perhaps mainly because DeeDee and Aunt Alice and all of Mom’s friends would gather at the table in the back and socialize most every day. But also, she loved going to market in Dallas and shopping for that next coming season’s clothes for “the store.”
After Fashion Lane, Mom took the real estate licensing exam and became a realtor. She really loved that too, but not for the money or the work really. Instead, we think she mostly enjoyed it because she was helping people find a home. She liked looking at houses, she always did, but she really just loved riding around with people, talking to them and discovering their needs, and ultimately finding their forever home. Thankfully, given how she loved to talk, she never was too distracted to cause a car wreck with her customers in her car (as far as we know anyway — because we all know that she wasn’t the best driver).
Mom was extremely social and loved her friends very much. She had their pictures placed throughout her apartment as a reminder of their friendships. Judy Nosari, Nancy Sanders, Candy Gearhart, Beverly Morton, Lyda Reynolds and many others of Mountain Home were all very important to her. When she lived in McAllen, Texas, she loved all the social activities provided to her and Terry at Heritage Village, and of course she developed wonderful friendships with Diane Severence, Juanita McLain, Yolanda Chapa, and Linda and John Jackson and several others there.
Mom was beautiful in every way. She was an extremely kind-hearted and Christian lady that was proud having her hair look pretty, her makeup just right, and she was always dressed perfectly. More than anything though, Mom was deeply caring of her loved ones. She took care of Lee when he was sick, and she took care of Terry when he couldn’t walk and when he struggled with his mental health.
On her last day here, she was in excruciating pain and miserable because her heart had given out. Throughout her life she lived for others, and constantly put her family and loved ones above herself. Mom’s heart was huge and always giving, serving to others and to Christ. In the end, her heart, which had worked so hard for 81 years, had to rest.
That morning, Mom was taken to the Emergency Room by Debby because she couldn’t breathe and was in distress. When I got to Searcy, and Deb and I could switch in the ER, I went back to see her. As I turned the corner, there she was. Her hair was perfectly fixed, she had her pink lipstick on, and her toenails were freshly painted red. I learned from Debby that before they left in the ambulance that morning that Mom asked Debby if her hair was okay, and then she put on her lipstick. She was always our Mom, well put together and beautiful, always.
After several hours, the doctor spoke to Debby and me in a private room. We then went back to talk to Mom about possible life-sustaining measures. Mom took over the conversation. She said she was miserable and did not want to live this way, and then took a very hard decision from us and made it all herself. Again, and once more, she was our Mom.
She was sitting up in her bed, because it was easier for her to try and get a breath that way. Debby was on her right side, and I was to her left. Mom first leaned over to Debby, and hugged her. She then kissed her on the cheek and told her she loved her very much. Mom then turned to me. She hugged me, and kissed me on my cheek. Mom then told me how much she loved me, and asked if she could just lay her head on my shoulder and then placed it there. With that, Mom said goodbye to “her babies.” We had a very special mother. The absolute best.
Roller Funeral Homes will be taking care of all of Mom’s arrangements. Her long-time friends Lynn and Sue Jenkins, their daughter Renata Jenkins Byler and son-in-law Tim Byler (the owners/operators of Roller’s) have been tremendous to Mom and our family. We also wish to express great gratitude, especially, to Renata for all she has done. A memorial service is planned for Mom and for Dad at Roller Funeral Home in Mountain Home on April 3, 2021.
With her love, her compassion, her kindness, and by leading others to closer walks with Christ, Mom was clearly an angel living with us on Earth. She is now home and preparing a place for all of us.